Friday Devotion with Ray Leonard
A Good Word Today from Ray Leonard:
“Surely goodness and mercy...”
I have just finished re-reading “A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23” by Phillip Keller, a book my Mom gave me 45 years ago. It was one of her favorites and it has been a while since I last read it. Like many of you, I have been finding more time to read these past few months and it was time for me to read this again. The entire book is a really interesting take on this familiar psalm, but this verse really struck a chord with me.
“Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all of my days” reminds us that God’s love is always there for us. Even though we may not believe that we deserve it or sense it, we have to believe that He is with us. In the book, the author talks about how a good shepherd is always making sure that his sheep have all the grass, water and shelter that they need. The shepherd tends to those that are sick and protects the flock from danger. The author also talks about what happens as the sheep graze. If they are being well managed, they eat the weeds and fertilize the fields where they graze, leaving the fields in better condition than they were before the sheep were there. The author then asks if it is right that the goodness and mercy that flows from Christ into our lives should stop with us. Shouldn’t we make sure that goodness and mercy follow in our footsteps so that others benefit from our having been in their lives? I think this is particularly important to consider today. With all that is going on, everyone needs some goodness and mercy in their lives. The question I am asking myself, and we should all be asking is, “Are goodness and mercy following in my path?”
If I truly appreciate the goodness and mercy of God then I will strive to share it with others. This means that not only do I need to be kind, I have to be willing to overlook their faults or weaknesses. I have to see others with the compassion of Christ and be willing to forgive them as God has forgiven me. Not always easy, is it? Yet, this is what we have been called to do. Will we always be successful? Probably not, but will God’s goodness and mercy still follow us? You can be sure it will. Again, all the more reason for us to try to do the same every chance we get.
Father, we truly appreciate knowing that Your goodness and mercy are always with us. We ask that You would help us make sure that this goodness and mercy might flow through us to those around us, that all may feel Your loving presence, particularly during these difficult times. This we ask in Jesus’ name. Amen.